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Laverstoke Court in Derby will be opening in mid-January as an Initial Accommodation Centre for up to 225 asylum-seekers. Urban Housing Services, acting on behalf of G4S, will be running the site and recruitment is underway to staff the centre. It will be self-catering with residents receiving £35 per week on an ASPEN card to meet their living needs.  To ensure that people don’t have to carry heavy shopping, Urban Housing will have an agreement with Pak supermarket, which is local to the hostel, where residents can purchase food and the supermarket will provide deliveries of the shopping three days a week. NHS England are visiting the site shortly and they plan to have a base onsite for health screening.  Migrant Help will also be on site to complete asylum support applications.

A Volunteer Coordinator will be recruited who will engage volunteers to run activities in the centre and also work in partnership with local agencies who support refugees and those seeking asylum. This will still be classed as Initial Accommodation and once Section 95 support has been granted residents will be dispersed from the accommodation. Given that the site will host up to 225 asylum seekers, G4S has agreed they will reduce the number of individuals housed in Section 95 accommodation in the ward where Laverstoke is based.

Derby City of Sanctuary and partner organizations in the city will be in touch with the coordinator when appointed re. support from the community etc. The local group is already in contact with Urban Housing and the City Council about the Centre.

There will be much work to do in the local community to build welcome after a local resident’s campaign to prevent the opening of the centre.  We believe that once local people begin to connect with the new residents, fear and prejudice will break down and Derby City of Sanctuary will engage new supporters in our vision of welcome for those who flee or and persecution to seek sanctuary in the UK.